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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Non-Latin Scripts in a Romanized World: Eastern European Catalogs

Introduces ILL librarians, scholars, and students to the basic skills and resources that will help them verify Slavic-related bibliographic citations, identify holding libraries, and complete ILL requests (or projects) with little to no wasted time

Online Union Catalogs from Eastern Europe

Some of these catalogs require typing in Cyrillic, others do not. The use of these catalogs may be best for verification rather than identifying locations for borrowing, for some Eastern European libraries do not participate in international interlibrary loan. Obtaining photocopies or scans may be possible from the non-lending libraries.

Click on the links to skip to specific sections below.

-The Balkans
-Bulgaria
-Croatia
-Czech Republic
-Estonia
-Hungary
-Latvia
-Lithuania
-Poland
-Romania
-Russia
-Slovak Republic

Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia

COBISS.net  - http://www.cobiss.net/ is a portal with access to all of the union catalogs for the Balkan countries except Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Romania, and Greece. Simply because the Bulgarian catalog is quite new, it is described below under Bulgaria. All others are described together under this entry since they function in a similar manner. The system is a derivative of one started in Former Yugoslavia in the 1980s.

Each catalog has dual or multiple language interfaces including English. On the COBISS.net homepage you can see the number of libraries included in each catalog. For example, as of June 2012 the Macedonian catalog had 43 libraries, whereas the Slovenian, included 428 libraries. There are bibliographic records for book, periodicals and articles. Regarding serial holdings, to see the full holdings of the library, go to the bottom of the screen under Holdings in Libraries and click on the linked name of the library. This will provide the holdings. If the language of the publication is a Cyrillic language, you may search in Cyrillic, but the records all display in Latin characters. For example, searches of title word vesnik and весник yield the same results. If it is a Latin alphabet language, you must search in Latin, but it is okay to ignore diacritics. Information about whether an item is available for loan appears in column entitled holdings availability. Each country also has its own database called COLIB.## which contains information about libraries in that country.

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Bulgaria

There are two different union catalogs for Bulgarian libraries – COBIB and NALIS. Each includes different Bulgarian libraries so both should be searched. COBIB is better for older materials, because it includes the National Library’s records from their retrospective conversion. NALIS is important for contemporary materials because it has far more participating libraries including some of the most important research libraries in the country.

COBIB http://www.bg.cobiss.net/scripts/cobiss?ukaz=getid&lani=en - This Bulgarian union catalog was established in 2011. As of June 2012 it contains only records from the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia, but new members will be added in the future. The next member library to be included in the fall of 2012 is the Regional Public Library “Dimitar Talev” in Blagoevgrad. The National Library is the largest library in Bulgaria and they have contributed almost 900,000 records with considerable retrospective depth. You can find Bulgarian books from the early 19th century through the 21st century. There are also bibliographic records for journals and articles. The records come from their online catalog, their retrospective conversion of card catalogs, as well as from the databases developed as part of the Bulgarian national bibliography. Regarding serial holdings, to see the full holdings of the library, go to the bottom of the screen under Holdings in Libraries and click on the linked name of the library. This will provide the holdings. The example below for the journal title _Bulgarski tiutiun_ shows the display of bibliographic and serial holdings information.

The catalog has two interfaces – one in Bulgarian and the other in English. For items published in Cyrillic you must search in Cyrillic, not Romanization. For items in languages published with Latin alphabets you must search with Latin characters. The National Library participates in international interlibrary loan. Information about whether an item is available for loan appears in column entitled holdings availability. The site also has a database called COLIB.BG which contains information about libraries in Bulgaria.

NALIS http://primo3.nalis.bg:1701/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do - The National Academic and Library System was the first union catalog in Bulgaria. It includes records from many important research libraries including the libraries of the Academy of Sciences, Sofia University, Plovdiv University, New Bulgarian University, and the American University in Bulgaria. Detailed search help is available at http://www.nalis.bg/docs/en/nalis_basic_search.pdf .

The catalog has two interfaces – one in Bulgarian and the other in English. For items published in Cyrillic you must search in Cyrillic, not Romanization. For items in languages published with Latin alphabets you must search with Latin characters. To identify holding libraries, click on “Locations.” The catalogs are populated with records available in the online catalogs of the various institutions. It does not have the retrospective depth of COBIB, but for more contemporary publications, it is very important because of the large number of research libraries included. Although there is a search limitation for articles, numerous searches did not result in any article citations. Records for books, periodicals and audio-visual materials do appear, but periodical holdings are not available.

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Croatia

CROLIST - http://opak.crolib.hr/bnew/searche.html Croatia is not part of the COBISS network. Instead, it has its own union catalog of Croatian libraries call CROLIST. The search interface is in English, no diacritics needed. The records all display in Latin characters even if the title appeared in Cyrillic. Records for books, periodicals and articles are all available in CROLIST. For periodicals, click on the highlighted libraries under the heading “Available in:” to get the holdings. When you do this, the system takes you out of CROLIST and into the individual catalogs of the holding libraries. As of June 2012 the union catalog had 724,000 records. Although it is not clearly stated how many libraries in Croatia participate in CROLIST, based on the statistics pages, it seems that number is around 50.

In the CROLIST simple search, the term "bibliographic level" refers to whether the item being searched is a monograph, serial, or series, and so on.  As stated, limiting the search beyond the search type and text is not necessary.

The CROLIST advanced search, in addition to additional (optional) search limits, gives the option of retrieving items that are "like;" "not like;" etc. are the equivalent of NOT in the Boolean searches that may be encountered in other database. The term "is like" versus "is" refers to the degree of certainty, so "is" would imply that the search term(s) entered are the exact wording of the item to be retrieved.

For additional search help, the Examples link at the bottom of the Advanced and Simple Search pages offer tips on how to enter terms into the search box to retrieve accurate results.

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Czech Republic 

Souborný katalog ČR [Union Catalogue of the Czech Republic] - http://www.caslin.cz/what-is-the-union-catalogue-of-the-czech-republic/view?set_language=en  This union catalog includes almost 5 million records from many libraries in the Czech Republic. An exact number of participating libraries was not found, but it appears to include several hundred institutions. The records are for books, periodicals, and other materials.

The interface is available in English or Czech. Diacritics are very important to Czech catalogs including this one. You will not find your title if you do not use the appropriate characters. For example, a search for Cesky casopis historicky yields no results, but a search for Český časopis historický yields many. Another example is an author search for Hasek vs. Hašek. The first search yields 1284 records, the second search 1484. After clicking on a record, library locations appear right after a brief description under the rubric “Owner of doc.” The rest of the bibliographic description follows the locations list. A summary of periodical holdings appear for all libraries, but some libraries have a button for “local record,” which takes you outside the union catalog to the individual catalogs and shows more detailed holdings. Scanning a hit list will also show locations under the column entitled “Owner,” but the libraries are listed with a numerical code, rather than a three or four letter symbol. Once you open the record, you can see not only the numerical code but also the name of the library assigned to the numerical code.

The following site provides a list with brief descriptions in English about other, smaller union catalogs representing materials in Czech libraries = http://www.caslin.cz/links/union-catalogues-of-the-czech-republic/view?set_language=en

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Estonia

Ester - http://tartu.ester.ee/search for Tartu catalog; http://tallinn.ester.ee/search for Tallinn catalog. This union catalog contains bibliographic records for 12 Estonian libraries in Tartu and Tallinn. In fact, the catalog consists of two parts, one for the libraries in each city. You can search the collections of just one library or all the libraries together via Ester. Switching between the two catalogs is not readily apparent. The catalogs include records for books, periodicals and other materials.

There are two interfaces – one in English and the other in Estonian. Estonia was part of the Russian Empire as well as part of the Soviet Union for many decades, and the catalog reflects that history. For items printed in Latin alphabets, search in Latin script, but for items printed in Cyrillic, you need to search with Cyrillic characters. Underneath the bibliographic description, you can find a series of tabs. The first tab is called “Copy status” and it shows the locations. The “Status” column shows the availability of the item for use in Estonia. To get holdings for periodicals, click on the “Full Record” tab and in the description there will be a summary holdings statement.

Searches can be limited to only periodicals or only dissertations by selecting those under the same pull down menu where you select individual libraries to search.

Using the extended search provides even more limiting options, but the catalog seems to give a Java script error message when it finds no records, rather than telling you that it found no records. In the extended search you can search for article citations.


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Hungary

Mokka - http://www.mokka.hu  The catalog contains bibliographic records for books, music, maps, periodicals, and other formats from an unknown number of Hungarian libraries. Most of the information about the catalog and its participants is in Hungarian. Hungarian libraries contain much material from Eastern Europe because of Hungary’s geographic location and its history as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in which many Slavic people resided.

The catalog has two interfaces – one in Hungarian and the other in English. Both simple and advanced searches are available. When you find a title, in order to see the locations of holding libraries, scroll down to the section for locations. Hungarian diacritics are not necessary for searching, but with some searching of other languages with diacritics, their use is required. For example, when searching for Czech or Croatian materials, if you search casopis with no diacritics, you get no hits, but if you search časopis, you get 192 hits. Cyrillic materials can be searched in Romanization only.


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Latvia

Electronic Union Catalog of Latvian Libraries of National Significance http://lira.lanet.lv:8991/F/?func=option-update-lng&file_name=find-b&local_base=lnc04&p_con_lng=eng - This union catalog for Latvia contains the records of nine Latvian libraries, including the National Library and the libraries of universities in Riga. It includes records for books, periodicals, theses, multimedia, and other formats that were added to Latvian library collections after 1990.

This Aleph catalog has two interfaces – one in Latvian and the other in English. Different results are achieved depending on whether you search in Cyrillic or with Romanized terms. Latin alphabet diacritics are not necessary for searching. The catalog has very good periodical holdings information and several possible holdings displays. At the end of the record are the global holdings (all of the holdings for all libraries together by year); the holdings by year; or the holdings for a particular library. You can search the entire union catalog or just one part of it by selecting the Databases tab and then one of the component databases of books, serials, sheet music, graphic editions, abstracts, theses, maps, video, audio, electronic documents, e-books, manuscripts, or microforms.

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Lithuania

Libis - http://www.libis.lt/lang.do;jsessionid=29678DB6B3F5AF6D010D3BB78F34C356?language=en This is the union catalog for over 80 Lithuanian libraries. It includes over 5 million bibliographic records for many formats of materials, from books and periodicals to maps and multimedia. Participating are university libraries, city libraries, the national library, and others.

There are two interfaces – one in Lithuanian, one in English, but the English is limited. Error messages are only in Lithuanian, as are field tags in records and navigation. You may search in Latin or Cyrillic, with or without diacritics, and achieve the same results. One special feature is limiting by country of publication. Once you find a pertinent record, the holding libraries are listed under the rubric “Biblioteka.” When periodical holdings are available, they appear under the heading “Dalys.”


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Poland

NUKAT http://www.nukat.edu.pl/ - This is a union catalog of the holdings of 38 Polish research libraries. It was created in 2002. It contains over 2 million bibliographic records for books, periodicals, maps, and materials in other formats.

The catalog has two language interfaces – one in Polish and the other in English. The catalog provides three types of searches – simple, complex keyword, and expert using Boolean operators. Diacritics for Latin alphabets are not needed for searching. Searching with Cyrillic characters is not an option. You must search with Romanized words. Once you find a record, the locations are listed at the end of the record. There is no label to indicate libraries, just linked names of libraries. If you click on the link, you are taken outside of NUKAT and into the individual library catalog and its record. This is the way to get the periodical holdings of each library. The following image shows a bibliographic record with linked holding locations beginning after the subject headings

At the following site, you can find contact information for the participating libraries: http://centrum.nukat.edu.pl/index.php?option=com_nubbw&layout=en&Itemid=166

 

KaRo [Distributed Catalogue of Polish Libraries] - http://karo.umk.pl/Karo/karo.php?al=&lang=en KaRo is intended to complement NUKAT, described above. It is a metasearch tool through which you can choose any one or a combination of over 100 Polish catalogs to search simultaneously. It includes catalogs for research libraries, public libraries, special libraries, and the national library.

There are both Polish and English interfaces. Diacritics for Latin alphabets are not needed for searching. Searching with Cyrillic characters is not an option. You must search with Romanized words. A successful search will yield a table of results with the number of hits per selected library catalog. In order to view the bibliographic records, you need to select which library hit list you want to explore. The results are not co-mingled. Holdings for periodicals appear depending on whether the individual library catalogs have them. The following screen shot shows a hit list for an author search. The display shows the number of records per library catalog.

Romania

Rolinest [Romanian Library Network in Science and Technology] http://aleph.edu.ro/V/Similar  - This union catalog from Romania has bibliographic records for books and periodicals from 13 participating libraries in Romania, including some of the most important ones such as those from major universities in Bucharest, Iaşi, and Cluj-Napoca, and the Romanian Academy of Sciences. The catalog uses a metasearch that searches the individual library catalogs simultaneously and then displays the results in a uniform manner. Because of this process, getting results is a bit slow. There is no statement about the retrospective depth of the catalog, but most records seem to be from the 1990s and forward, with just a few from earlier dates. Clearly, it depends on whether each individual library has done retrospective conversion or not.

The catalog has only a Romanian interface, but it is not too difficult to use, for the search fields are similar to English words. For instance, Titlu means Title. There is a simple and an advanced search capability. There are 5 choices as to which aspects of the catalog to search – online subscription tools, various national library catalogs, a database of gray literature, or two different groupings of Romanian research libraries. Searching does not require the use of Romanian or other Latin script diacritics, however there are complications when searching for Cyrillic titles. Some catalogs have produced records in Cyrillic which can only be retrieved using Cyrillic scripts, but others have used Romanization. Try both for maximum results. When you get results, you must click on “Afişare rezultate” to view the records. In the record the search term is highlighted and holding libraries appear under the heading “Holding.”


 

Russia

Svodnyi katalog bibliotek Rossii v svobodnom dostupe (SKBR) [Union Catalog of Russian Libraries with Free Access] - http://skbr2.nilc.ru/ - With over 6 million bibliographic records, this is Russia’s largest union catalog. The scope is Russian books from the 18th century through 1945 and from 1980 to the present. It contains records from over 500 Russian libraries including the major research institutions such as the Russian National Library, the Russian State Library, the State Public Historical Library, and the State Public Library for Science and Technology, among others. The interface is in Russian and the catalog must be searched in Cyrillic. After getting a hit list, click on Biblioteki [Libraries] to see holding libraries. The bibliographic description of the items is split by the Biblioteki option. Further details appear at the bottom of the page under the heading Podrobnee [Details]. Serials are not included except when a library has cataloged each serial volume as a book. The catalog also has a search option to find out more information about the participating libraries in Russia under Poisk bibliotek [Search Libraries]. The following example depicts a bibliographic record with a holding library listed under the heading “Biblioteki.” More details about the item appear after the holding library.

Russkaia kniga grazhdanskoi pechati XVIII v. (1708-1800) v fondakh bibliotek RF [Russian Books of the 18th Century (1708-1800) in Libraries of the Russian Federation] – http://www.nlr.ru:8101/rlin/ruslbr_v2.php?database=RLINXVIII This union catalog covers a very specific time period in Russian publishing. These books are all considered bibliographic rarities and will not circulate on interlibrary loan. Copying may also be a problem. But for verification and holdings for a patron interested in traveling to Russia to use these kinds of materials, this catalog is quite valuable. Additionally, many will have been microfilmed already and can be found in the 18th Century Russian Publications microfilm set held by many libraries in the U. S. The interface is in Russian. The catalog must be searched in Cyrillic and hitting the return key does not initiate the search. You must press the search button.

Mezhdunarodnyi svodnyi katalog russkoi knigi 1918-1926 [International Union Catalog of the Russian Book 1918-1926] - http://www.nlr.ru:8101/rlin/ruslbr_v2.php?database=RLINXVIIIn  This union catalog covers Russian books published during the first decade of Soviet rule, including diaspora and the revolutionary White movement titles. According to the description on the website, these titles were issued before the centralization and standardization of cataloging practices in the Soviet Union. The catalog provides holdings from 752 libraries and education institutions, including many from outside of Russia. As of 2012 the catalog had over 100,000 records, but concentrated on authors whose surnames fall in the early half of the Cyrillic alphabet. Cyrillic alphabetical order differs from English alphabetical order. For example, the letter “V” is the third letter of the Cyrillic alphabet. There are many records for later alphabet authors, but they do not have as many holdings as the earlier authors. The catalog is a work in progress. There is no true author search – you must search by Personaliia, which also will pull out records about a particular person.

Arbikon: Svodnyi katalog periodiki bibliotek Rossii - See Union Catalogs for Periodicals and Newspapers


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Slovak Republic

Slovak Library. Portal to Catalogs and Collections of Slovak Libraries - https://www.kis3g.sk/en/index.html - This union catalog has records from 29 libraries in the Slovak Republic, including major ones such as the National Library in Martin, the University Library in Bratislava, and the Central Library of the Academy of Sciences. It contains records for books, articles, music, old works from 1477-1830, as well as other formats, but it does not contain periodicals because there is a separate Slovak union catalog for periodicals. See below. As of 2010 there were over 3.5 million records in the Slovak Library.

The catalog has two interfaces – one in English and the other in Slovak. You can search the entire catalog or just each section determined by format. There is also a directory of libraries in the Slovak Republic as part of the catalog. You do need to be mindful of diacritics, for different results appear depending on their use or non-use. Cyrillic characters do not work, so search with Romanized words. Once you find a pertinent bibliographic record click on the “Full holdings” link to the left of the record to see the library locations.

 

Slovak Union Catalogue of Periodicals - https://ukb.kis3g.sk/cgi-bin/gw_48_1_3/chameleon?skin=ukb-skp&lng=en - This union catalog has records from over 350 libraries in the Slovak Republic, including major ones such as the National Library in Martin, the University Library in Bratislava, and the library of the Academy of Sciences, as well as public and medical libraries. As of 2010 there were almost 65,000 records in the Slovak Union Catalog of Periodicals.

The catalog has two interfaces – one in English and the other in Slovak. You do need to be mindful of diacritics, for different results appear depending on their use or non-use. Cyrillic characters do not work, so search with Romanized words. Once you find a pertinent record, click on the “Full holdings” link to the left of the record to see library locations and their holdings of the particular periodical. See the example for periodical holdings of the title Detsky lekar from four different libraries in the Slovak Republic. The following site is a list of many smaller union catalogs in Slovakia not discussed in this guide http://www.ulib.sk/sk/katalogy/suborne-katalogy/


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Subject Guide

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Slavic Reference Service
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About

Information about Union Catalogs compiled by:

Angela Cannon
Reference Specialist
European Division
Library of Congress
acannon@loc.gov